'We know who they are': Locals fed up with young criminals
BALLINA residents have backed the founder of a community page who wants to name and shame young offenders.
Leann Killmore, who has been running the Ballina Crime Reports page on Facebook for the past few years, has taken a stand against alleged young offenders in Ballina, threatening to post photos of offenders.
"With cars being broken into and property being vandalised along with harassment and demand property be handed over.... these little sh--- don't have any idea that we know who they are,” she said in the post.
"Soon everyone will.”
To address the issue, Mr Killmore is looking to revive the bygone idea of the Neighbourhood Watch group, but through the online platform.
Ms Killmore told The Northern Star the idea was "to keep the community informed and for people to feel free to share their stories”.
It is also for those people who are responsible for car break-ins, theft and vandalism to be held to account.
"We know who is committing these crimes,” she said.
"But we want them to know we know.”
Ms Killmore said there was not much police could do to deter young offenders.
"Their hands are tied with the options given to them on what process to proceed following a juvenile being brought before a court,” she said.
"They only get locked up or bail refused and sent to a detention facilities for horrendous crimes.”
A Ballina-based security guard said while it was a minority "core group of idiots” causing problems, he believes those who are caught don't face strong enough punishment.
"It's exceptionally frustrating that the community support local police but the government ... let's both police and the community down with both abhorrent, inadequate lenient sentences and bail,” he said.
He has asked his staff who spot lone girls and young women walking the streets to ensure they are safe.
"If we see ladies walking during the night on their own or in a group of under six ladies we will stop, ask them if they are OK, would they like us to call them a taxi or someone to pick them up and take them home,” he said.
"We also find this helps curb anti-social behaviour as males tend to congregate and cause issues late at night when females are present.
"We are effectively trying to prevent two issues which is the safety of people and anti-social behaviour. We have had a number of parents call us and thank us for doing so.”
Another resident, Robyn Taber, said many youths didn't have enough opportunities to keep them out of trouble.
She feared Aboriginal youth, like her grandchildren, could be painted in a negative light and targeted by the community and said a "tit-for-tat” approach wouldn't work.
Instead, she has called on government bodies to invest in building strong communities.
"It's not the police, it's not their fault,” she said.
"The police have so much to do... but they put money into roads, so why don't they put money into communities for these young people that have lost their way?”
Bec McEwan said they needed more opportunities for young people in the region.
"We have a beautiful river and beaches and no activities for the youth,” she said.